Play it safe: five UK Casinos at risk as regulators begin crackdown

Five online casino companies in the UK could lose their licence to operate

One of the highest items on the agenda of all gambling regulators is combating money laundering, and it is this that has caused the UK Gambling Commission to investigate and review the licences of a number of operators in the UK market. In a statement made on the ongoing investigation recently, the UKGC claimed that there were a total of 17 operators under investigation and that it was considering reviewing and potentially revoking the licences of five of those.

The review comes on the back of a letter sent out by the UKGC to all operators outlining its expectations regarding anti-money laundering practices and social responsibility. It has not been made clear which operators are under investigation, nor which one may face a license revocation or review.

 What is the UK Gambling Commission?

The UKGC, as it is commonly called, is the regulatory body in charge of issuing all iGaming licences for operators targeting the UK market. It effectively sets the rules and enforces them. The UKGC has been taking a much tougher stance across a range of issues in recent times, including money laundering, social responsibility, and the need to protect problem gamblers.

In 2017, a UKGC investigation led to 888 casino being fined a record of £7.8 million due to the inadequacy of its protections for problem gamblers. The commission warned of tougher regulations across the industry with the potential for new regulations for affiliates. This caused Skybet to cease all affiliate marketing immediately.

Sarah Harrison, chief executive of the commission, has reiterated its commitment to keeping crime out of gambling and making the broader industry safer for players. She said the commision would be ‘relentless’ in its mission. Players who are concerned with finding a trustworthy online casino can use a respected casino comparison site, to get expert reviews before making a selection.

 What Does This Mean for UK iGaming Operators?

It certainly means a much stricter environment in which operators will have to comply fully with regulations, with little room for error. As the 888 fine last year indicated, the commission means business and is taking a zero tolerance approach to any operator, no matter how big, found to be shirking its responsibilities.

That said, there is widespread support for the measures from most operators as they will help maintain the integrity and reputation of the UK gambling industry as a whole.

How Will These Measures Affect Players?

Players will benefit most from regulatory crackdowns, which are designed to keep them safe and keep the industry shielded from unscrupulous practices. While money laundering may seem far removed from the average player’s experience, it is all part and parcel of a larger drive to clean up the image of the online gambling market in the UK. Ultimately, players can interpret these types of investigation as a positive development.

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